Volcano Club

Volcano Club only offers one type of membership - and that's lifetime. To become a member send some volcanic themed work to the HQ (volcanoclubhq@gmail.com) and you might get a codename or some other cool shit.

Friday, 2 December 2011

Volcano of the Week #23 - Santa Maria

This is the decade volcano that I don't know much about and therefore decided to feature as the next volcano of the week whenever I could be bothered to write it, that time is now. The volcano is in Guatemala in the Sierra Madre range, which is featured in the excellent film 'The Treasure of the Sierra Madre' starring Humphrey Bogart. For obvious reasons I get the 'Treasure of the Sierra Madre' confused with 'High Sierra' but 'High Sierra' is the one with Ida Lupino and the dog and the 'Treasure of the Sierra Madre' is the one with gold, hope that clears things up. That's probably enough about Humphrey Bogart films so back to the volcano, Santa Maria was responsible for a massive eruption (VEI= 6) in 1902, making it one of the 4 largest eruptions of the 20th century. Before this eruption the volcano had been dormant for around 500 years and the eruption was preceeded by an earthquake in April that year. The eruption began on the 24th October and produced around 5.5 cubic km of tephra and was seen in San Francisco. 5,000 were killed as a result of the eruption however a following outbreak of malaria killed many more, wikipedia is unable to tell me if these two things are linked so we will never know.

In 1922 a new lava dome was formed in crater of the eruption 20 years earlier, this has been christened Santiaguito. Santiaguito erupts almost constantly, the summit of Santa Maria is above Santiaguito making exciting eruption viewing opportunities. Santa Maria is a decade volcano which means it is thought to be possible of damaging civilisations, the main threat from the volcano is lahars (mudflows), they are slow moving so more likely to damage buildings than people. The volcano has previously damaged the town of El Palmar in the Quetzaltenango department, so severely that the town has had to be relocated twice a bridge was also destroyed in 2005 by Hurricane Stan. The origin site of the town is now to be entered at YOUR OWN RISK but I suppose that's true of anywhere. It is also close to Guatemala's second largest city Quetzaltenango.

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